Each week, The Herald-Whig sports staff will debate a pertinent topic. Here is this week's question:
"How do you best define a dynasty?"
Matt Schuckman, Sports Editor
We've been fortunate in this area to witness some incredible runs of success by high school athletic programs, including the current championship stretches by the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball and soccer programs.
Those two programs share one thing in common with the other great dynasties — consistency and stability.
Start with the coaching staffs. When Monroe City ruled Northeast Missouri football, it was because Dale Labuary put a system in place, taught kids to play within that system and had kids grow up wanting to emulate all-staters such as Michael Washington and Andre White. The same thing took place in Carthage, where Jim Unruh built the ultimate football dynasty and won at any level, capturing championships in Class 1A, 2A and 3A.
Why were Unruh's teams able to do that? Talent helps, but expectations and coaching never changed. Look at the Illini West football program now. Lyle Klein is taking over as head coach after 23 years as an assistant. Joey Dion played quarterback for the Blueboys and is now an assistant coach. The familiarity helps kids understand what they have to do and what they're expected to accomplish.
You have to have success. Dynasties are defined by winning. What creates a dynasty is consistency and stability.
Every winning program has it. Those that don't desire it.
Blake Toppmeyer, Sports Writer
I think the most telling sign of a dynasty is the feeling opponents and fans get whenever that team walks onto the court or field. Dynasty teams have swagger. They have an aura. There's a feeling even before the game starts that it's over.
Generally, there is a player or two in particular who make those teams that way.
In my lifetime, the Chicago Bulls stand out as that team. With Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the court in the NBA Finals, you just knew the Bulls weren't losing.
Locally, the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team became a dynasty. Jordan Frericks and Kassidy Gengenbacher were Jordan and Pippen. They elicited a feeling of doom from their opponents and piled up three state titles along the way.
Josh Rizzo, Sports Writer
Dynasties are almost like machines. Find the pieces that fit and execute the system, leading to sustained success.
Dynasties are like the current runs of the New England Patriots and San Antonio Spurs. Both have won multiple titles in the past 15 years. In the regular season, their success is unparalleled. On the high school level, some schools also have perfected that system. The Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball program is a machine.
Clairton football in the Pittsburgh area has also turned into a dominant dynasty, winning four straight state titles and 63 games despite a serious downturn in population due to the collapse of the steel industry.
Mat Mikesell, Sports Writer
The lazy answer would be to win three championships in four seasons. But a dynasty is much more than that.
What makes a team a dynasty is it dominates every facet of the league and not just by winning championships.
The Chicago Bulls dynasty won six titles in eight seasons and won a record 72 games in the 1995-96 season. The New York Yankees dominated baseball for four decades with some of the most feared hitters to ever play the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers dominated with its "Steel Curtain" to win four Super Bowls.
These teams did things that hadn't been done before in their sports and no one will match their accomplishments.
Along with the accomplishments, the players and coaches live on in their sport as legends. Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, John Wooden, just to name a few, have all cemented their place in their sport's history by contributing to their team's success.
Alabama football can be seen as a current dynasty. The Crimson Tide has won back-to-back BCS Championships and three in four seasons. They're winning by having the best defense in college football and a dominating run game.
It wouldn't be surprising if in 10 years everyone is talking about how great those teams were, just like any other dynasty.
Ben Marth, WGEM Sports Director
Plain and simple, dynasty is best defined by winning at the highest level. And doing it more than once. Check that, doing it more than twice.
Local dynasties, most recently, include the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball and soccer teams.
Going back further, the Carthage/Illini West football program's six state championships is even more impressive.
One can't dismiss the Pittsfield football teams from more than four decades ago that won a state-record 64 games consecutively prior to the IHSA's implementation of a playoff system. Or, the Dale Labuary-led Monroe City football program that played in three state championships in the 1990s, winning two. And, despite winning only one state title, the Quincy High School basketball program that notched 64 straight victories in the 1980s.
Dynasty means leaving a unique unparalleled legacy. One that will always be remembered. And one that more times than not will never be equaled.